The Man, the Siamese
By Biz Huthwaite
Location: Scarsdale Road
There is a man. Standing on the corner. Sipping a cup of coffee. Not a take-away cup, but one from his kitchen. His lip is rasping on the chipped rim each time he raises it to suck on the smooth, dark liquid. Next to him is a cat. A Siamese. Its blue collar matches the man’s blue cotton trousers. They are both disinterested in each other and in their surroundings.
The man is calm, seeming as if it’s completely normal for him to be standing there away from an entrance to any house, but not seeming to be waiting for anything, anyone. The Siamese sits. Raises her paw in time with the man lifting his coffee cup. They both lick. Him, his coffee; her, her paw. They are still looking for nothing. A car rolls by. The man, the Siamese, follow it with their eyes. Their heads are slowly moving from left to right as the man’s shirt flutters lightly across his turgid belly. Once the car has passed they resume their positions of staring blankly ahead of themselves.
A woman comes out of the house nearest to where the man and the Siamese are standing. She leans her twisted frame against the rusty bricks of her porch. She is now watching the man, the Siamese, who are still watching nothing. She squints as the sunlight burns harshly onto her retina, blocks it with her gnarled hands. They used to be smooth and dark like fine leather, but have now aged and resemble an old satchel, battered from years of use. Her lined face is a map although she herself has never left the city. The old woman wonders where the pair on the corner may end up going, instead of questioning why it is that she has never left.
The children kicking a yellow ball back and forth, back and forth down the street have not yet thought of where they will end up. Nor have they noticed the odd trio of observers a short distance away from them. They are too busy pretending to boot the sun around amongst the cars, pretending the apocalypse will come if their miniature sun happens to slide under one of the many vehicles that line the street. The ill-fitting shirts draped over their tiny frames billow like parachutes behind them as their feet dart around after the ball in too-big shoes. Tripping over themselves to save the earth, they let out fierce shrieks and simultaneously drop to the floor as the ball disappears underneath a cobalt Volvo and the apocalypse arrives. When a skinny arm fumbles blind under the sooty car, catches the ball, the world and the game start up again.